Dan Pacheco and his students examine how a suite of virtual reality tools may change storytelling

May 5, 2014

The students, faculty and staff of the Newhouse School rarely have a problem finding the right words. But as professor Dan Pacheco discovered while studying virtual reality capabilities this semester: "When you work with VR you quickly start to realize that there’s no vocabulary to describe some of these concepts."

Pacheco, the Peter A. Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, has been exploring the possibilities of virtual reality this semester. In particular, he's been challenging students to imagine what this new and rapidly expanding field of technology could do for storytelling.

"Together we have have been thinking about what it means for storytelling in the future—if you can even call it that," he says. "It’s more like story-experiencing, or what VR pioneer Nonny de la Peña refers to as Immersive Journalism."

Pacheco writes about his most recent findings, including experimenting with the "Holodeck experience," for PBS' "Idea Lab, Media Innovation and Startups" blog. His post comes with a unique and intriguing disclaimer: "I just want to warn you that everything you’re about to hear and see will sound absolutely ridiculous, almost as if it was dreamed up for a science fiction story or lifted from Star Trek. And in a sense, as with most new technologies, it was—but science fiction has now become science fact."

Read more about Pacheco's work and see examples of the technology in use on his Journovation Central blog.